Under the new rally scoring system, which had already worked its way into college and Olympic play before being adopted at the high school level for this season, either team can score on a serve. In the traditional format, teams could only score when they were serving.
Matches are played to the best two out of three games, with the first two games going to 25 points and the third, if necessary, going to 15.
Even though his team lost Thursday, Mercer coach Stacey Hall said he likes the new format as well.
"I like it because it's just like basketball," said Hall, who is also Mercer's boys basketball coach. "You've got to be ready every play; you can't take a play off."
Mercer (0-2) was on in the first game, but the Scotties never recovered after Casey (1-1) hit the ground running in the second game.
Casey coach Rachel Taylor said could see a big difference in her team's play Thursday from its loss to North Laurel seven days earlier.
"We had a tendency, when we messed up, to get down on ourselves, and tonight I didn't see that as much," Taylor said.
Rebels coming off their first winning season
The Rebels are coming off their first winning season last year. They host their district tournament this year, and they'd like to be a contender for that title by season's end.
One area where they're strong is in serving, and no one was stronger than Patten against Mercer. She had seven aces in the second game and three more in the decisive third game.
"That's the only thing I work on," she said. "I try to improve on it every year, because the only way you can win a game is with points. I've been good, and I'm getting better at it."
Taylor said Patten isn't the only strong server on the team.
"We have about seven or eight if we can get them to be on on the same night," she said.
McKinzee Weddle had three aces and scored five points in all in the third game, and she had five assists in the second game.
Halls took over Mercer program on July 28
Mercer is still finding its way with a young team and a coach who arrived relatively late in the game. Hall and wife Stefanie, his assistant coach, took over the third-year program on July 28 and have had fewer than 10 practices so far because they already had scheduled a vacation.
"We're a very young team," Hall said. "We've just got one senior who starts and plays. We're just trying to learn how to play.
"But from the first game to this game, we've improved 100 percent in listening and knowing what to do. We've still got a lot of bad habits, but we're working on that."
Hall said he's enjoying his first work with a girls team.
"You use a lot of the same skills in volleyball as you do in basketball," he said. "I'm having a blast."